Although Russian cinema goes back beyond the Soviet Union to when it was the Russian Empire, Andrei Konchalovsky, the director behind Hollywood films such as Runaway Train and Tango and Cash, was one of the first Russian directors that I had heard of that was working within the Hollywood system, or in the action genre in general.
The aforementioned movies were, of course, simply US movies that were directed by a Russian. What about wholly Russian made action films that have found an audience internationally???
In the last few years there has been an all-out explosion of new talent coming from the semi-presidential republic - the first that really caught this action movie addict's eye was Timur Bekmambetov, director of the sublime horror / action epic, Night Watch (which he followed with the sequel, Daywatch and the recent US hit, Wanted).
Another Bekmambetov-related movie you may not have heard of is the Alexandr Voitinsky and Dmitry Kiseliov-directed movie (which TB produced), Black Lightning. It features (in a very Spider-Man-esque way) a poor young college kid who receives a present in the form of a crappy car - only to find that the car is much more than what it appears...
Great stuff! Now, before you go thinking that Timur is the only dude taking eastern European action to the max, think again! We also have movies like the Antikiller series, which actually pre-dates the Night Watch films by a couple of years (and features it's main bad guy, Yuriy Kutsenko), the upcoming horror remake Viy: The Return and the awesome Nepobedimyj / Invincible / Man of East (directed by Oleg Pogodin, who also lensed the recent Paradox Soldiers).
You see? Don't go thinking that it's just the US and Asia (with a little nudge from Frenchman, Luc Besson every now and again) churning out the action goodness...THE RUSSIAN'S ARE COMING!
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